Social Networking and the Workplace: Issues in Employee-Boss Relationships

Social networking has changed our digital lives as millions of people use it to communicate with other people and do business. The World Wide Web has become socialised that other neologism were made to describe everything that revolves around social networking – peer production, collaboration, online community, and user-generated content. Unfortunately, a thin, shaded line separates business owners from employees when it comes to the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Businesses use it to promote their products and services and expand their market presence at the same time. On the other hand, employees are prohibited from using social networking sites on office hours because it may affect productivity. Does it sound like double standard? Never hesitate to ask questions about such rules when you get hired from jobs you find at an employment search site.

Businesses and corporations are looking for ways to increase employee participation and minimise the business risks at the same time. Business owners need to realise that social networking saves them time and money when communicating with customers and clients. Unfortunately, some employees abuse its use to the point of violating work place policies put in place to prevent someone from leaking out corporate trade secrets. There are certain gray areas in the rules of conduct that separates social networking activities suitable for business operations and those for personal benefit. Here are workplace issues that affect employee-boss relationships:

Your Boss as a Work Place Bully

Though bullying in social networks is prevalent among younger people, there are instances that bosses prove to be the bigger bully than anyone else is. This is why some employees tend to shout out their frustrations, grievances, and anger towards their boss on Facebook or Twitter. Unfortunately, this is not a good idea because your boss may find this move as grounds for firing you. Work place harassment can’t be settled if you’re using other means of getting attention.

Criticising company policies and other anomalous activities can be commendable if done right but if you are just a whistleblower trying to ruin the company’s reputation on the social networking sites then it will surely backfire on you.

Privacy Issues

In a typical office environment, there are no definite privacy guidelines when it comes to using social networking sites because it is the employer’s prerogative to know if the employees are using their time efficiently. You don’t want your boss to know that you are making snide remarks about him on Facebook or let him know that you are playing games when you are supposed to be busy with work. If you don’t want people at work snooping around your status updates then you have to keep it private.

Being Professional

In any work place in Australia, social networking can be a casual time off activity and it is not surprising that some employees write almost anything about their life and work for the benefit of the public audience. If the company has safeguards to protect their intellectual property then it is the responsibility of the employee not to divulge sensitive business information in social networking sites. Remember, companies follow a security protocol when dealing with information leaks.

Know Your Friend

Don’t just add any people you don’t know as your social networking friend. Learn to separate your professional and personal lives so that it won’t affect your work and the company’s business productivity. Work place relations are critical to business success but it should not be the reason for the company’s untimely demise.

Don’t Abuse Such Privileges

Some companies provide social networking privileges and full access to Facebook and Twitter. To the men and women in the work place, maximising productivity, meeting work deadlines, and following work place etiquettes should come first before anything else.

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